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Chance to discover Leicester’s hidden history at Heritage Open Days

Published on Thursday, August 31, 2023

2 minute read

Domed ceiling at the Jain Centre, Leicester

DOZENS of Leicester’s historic sites and buildings will be revealing their stories and offering behind-the-scenes tours for a series of Heritage Open Days next week.

The annual festival – which this year runs from Thursday 7 September to Sunday 17 September – is a once-a-year opportunity to find out more about the city’s hidden gems and its rich 2,000-year history.

As well as opening up buildings or parts of buildings not normally accessible to the public, organisers are also offering guided tours, walks and open days.

All events are free to attend, although some activities require pre-booking.

Highlights include the chance to tour Glenfield Railway Tunnel (Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September; Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September) ­– the longest railway tunnel in the world when it opened in 1832 – and an opportunity to ride on a vintage bus at the Stoneygate Tram Depot’s open day (Sunday 10 September).

There’ll also be walking tours of the Greyfriars legal quarter, with commentary covering the period from 1750 to 2021 (Sunday 10 September and Sunday 17 September), informal tours of Leicester Synagogue ­– a Grade II Listed Building – on Sunday 10 September, and guided tours of the Jain Centre (pictured) on Saturday 9 September. 

Families can book a tour of the Engine House at the Abbey Pumping Station (11, 12 & 14 September) or pop in to the ISKON Centre on Granby Street to enjoy free activities in the magnificent hall under its recently restored roof. Happiness Under a New Roof takes place on Saturday 16 September.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Every year, this festival provides an opportunity to celebrate Leicester’s 2,000 years of history by exploring some of the city’s finest heritage buildings.

“Together with our partners, we’ll be opening up dozens of historic buildings over the 10 days of the festival.

“From places of worship to wedding venues, and from a theatre to a railway tunnel, this is your chance to discover Leicester’s hidden stories.”

A full programme of events, with details of dates, times and how to book, can be found online at

Printed copies of the programme are available from the Visit Leicester information centre at the King Richard III visitor centre and from the city’s museums.

Information about events taking place around the country as part of the national Heritage Open Days festival is available at



Picture caption: The domed ceiling at Leicester's Jain Centre on Oxford Street.